Upcoming Performances

     
 

April 8, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

 

April 10, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

Trio for Five Instruments

 

Trio for Five Instruments

Commissioned by Stephen Tramontozzi

 

 

Location:
Sol Joseph Recital Hall
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak St. 
San Francisco, CA

 

 

Ensemble for These Times (Nanette McGuinness, soprano; Dawn Harms, violin; Anne Lerner-Wright, cello, Dale Tsang, piano)

The "Guernica" Project


Location:
Noe Valley Ministry
1021 Sanchez St. 
San Francisco, CA

 

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Reviews, Articles, and News

"Spoon River Songs" Recording with Cathy Cook and Kristin Pankonin awarded a Silver Medal in the 2016 Global Music Awards

GMA

See the complete list of winners here.



More Summer 2016 CD News

"Surviving: Women's Words" has been submitted for consideration for the 59th Grammy Awards

 

Centaur releases a fascinating 'project within a project' ( CD REVIEW)

April 2016
Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com

"...Of particular importance, however, is Garner’s skill at getting to the semantic core of each of the poems he has set. While McGuinness brings admirable diction to her execution, this is an album in which the accompanying booklet really matters (as I had anticipated from the attention I gave to the text sheets provided at Garner’s two SFCM recitals). At the very least one needs to absorb what the English is saying, and those with even a rudimentary knowledge of German will probably also appreciate the impact of both the choice of specific German words and Garner’s approach to setting them. When we then factor in the general absence of Yiddishkeit tropes, we find that this album offers four passionate meditations on the Holocaust experience delivered through a unique and highly compelling pair of voices, those of both composer and singer."
Read more

 

"Surviving: Women's Words" CD released on Centaur

"Surviving: Women's Words" was released on April 8, 2016 on Centaur Recordings (Centaur CRC 3490). Ensemble for These Times (soprano Nanette McGuinness, pianist Dale Tsang, and cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer, as part of the Jewish Music & Poetry Project) recorded Garner's four song cycles written for E4TT, ("Chanson fuer Morgen," "Phoenix," "Mein blaues Klavier" and "Song Is a Monument") as the culmination of their five-year, four-work commissioning project.

 

David Garner presents Songs in Three Languages...

April 5, 2016
Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com

"... Garner’s command of working with language was best appreciated by following the text sheets he provided.... [In Mary Pleasant at Land's End, Crystal] Philippi once again brought solid vocal technique to her performance; and her technique was excellently matched by soprano Julie Adams, tenor Michael Jankosky, and bass-baritone Philip Skinner." Read more

 

"December Celebration" CD Released on Pentatone

"Three Carols," performed by soprano Lisa Delan, Baritone Lester Lynch, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra was released on August 7, 2015 on Pentatone's new CD, "December Celebration."

 

Garner named winner of the 2015 American Prize for Composition, Chamber Music (professional division) for String Quartet No. 2.

TAP


Garner selected as the winner of the 2015 American Prize in Composition, Chamber Music (professional division) for String Quartet No. 2 (2015)

The American Prize celebrates American excellence in the performing arts. TAP sponsors a series of annual, national, non-profit competitions, selecting the best recorded performances of music in the United States by individuals and ensembles at professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. TAP provides cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition to composers, conductors, ensembles, vocalists, pianists, chamber musicians and stage directors. The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in all categories since 2010, and has welcomed applications from 46 U.S. states and from American citizens living throughout the world. Complete information about the competitions is available at the The American Prize website. Read more


"Three Carols" recorded on "December Celebration" CD for Pentatone

Soprano Lisa Delan, Baritone Lester Lynch, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra recorded "Three Carols," for release on Nov. 20, 2015 on Pentatone's new CD, "December Celebration."


"Surviving: Women's Words" recorded June 2015

Soprano Nanette McGuinness, pianist Dale Tsang, and cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer (the Jewish Music & Poetry Project) recorded Garner's four song cycles written for the ensemble in June 2015: "Chanson fuer Morgen," "Phoenix," "Mein blaues Klavier" and "Song Is a Monument," as the culmination of their five-year, four-work commissioning project. The CD is to be released on Centaur Recordings in Spring 2016.

Cinq Hommages winner of Labor of Love Composition Contest

"Cinq Hommages" was selected as the winning composition in the category of "Best Overall Work" in the 2014 Labor of Love Composition Contest for Composers and Songwriters, a partnership between Sheet Music Plus and Hal Leonard Publishing, chosen from 2,800 total submissions.

Read more about the Labor of Love Composition Contest.

 

Four-city Hungarian Tour in in September-October, 2014

Soprano Nanette McGuinness and pianist Dale Tsang (Jewish Music & Poetry Project) will perform "Chanson für Morgen" (texts by Mascha Kaleko) and excerpts from "Song Is a Monument" (texts by Yala Korwin) as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days in Budapest, Tokaj, Pecs, and Kalocsa, Hungary, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.

McGuinness and Tsang will be joined by cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer for two premieres in 2014 and 2015 in San Francisco: Mein blaues Klavier, Garner's latestGerman-language cycle on poetry by Elsa Lasker-Schueler in April 2015 and Capriccio for cello and piano in November 2014.

 

Vilna Poems selected finalist in 2014 The American Prize for Composition

TAP


"Vilna Poems" (2013, for soprano, clarinet, violincello, and piano) has been selected as a finalist for The American Prize in Composition in 2014.

The American Prize celebrates American excellence in the performing arts. TAP sponsors a series of annual, national, non-profit competitions, selecting the best recorded performances of music in the United States by individuals and ensembles at professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. TAP provides cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition to composers, conductors, ensembles, vocalists, pianists, chamber musicians and stage directors. The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in all categories since 2010, and has welcomed applications from 46 U.S. states and from American citizens living throughout the world. Complete information about the competitions is available at the The American Prize website. Read more

 

Conservatory's Chinese-American Gestalt

March 15, 2014
Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice

"... Among the new works I heard — there were four world premieres — Garner's String Quartet No. 2 made the strongest impression. The Han Quartet, the improbably young-looking Shanghai faculty ensemble, gave it a splendid performance, coached by the composer himself. The four movements present a great variety in sound, but all reflect Garner's purpose of creating a synthesis of early 20th-century serial technique with present-day neo-tonality. Lest that sounds forbidding, be assured that effect of all the music is pleasant and easily accessible, Martinu meets John Adams — but thoroughly original material...." Read more

 

Scores now available online

Selected scores are now available for purchase online at Sheet Music Plus.

 

SF-Shanghai Festival Returns to 50 Oak St.

The Shanghai faculty Han Quartet will premiere Garner's String Quartet No. 2 on March 13 at the SF-Shanghai Festival. The piece is "...an homage to the composers and performers who have contributed to the festival, including the Shanghai faculty Han Quartet who will perform its premiere. He calls the work a "synthesis of serial technique with modern neo-tonality" that begins with a twelve tone row and goes on to develop "a true 'pan-Pacific' flavor, with elements of American concert music, Latin America and China all combined." (Garner also manages to embed the Chinese folksong Kangding qingge into the serial framework.)..." Read more

 

Opera Parallele Commissions Full-Length, Two-Act Opera for 2016 Season

After a year of negotiations, Opera Parallele has commissioned David Garner to compose a two-act, full-length opera with a libretto by Mark Hernandez. Set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast in the 1880s and scheduled to open in 2016, this opera promises to be a long-overdue homage to the City of San Francisco's history and diversity, writ large.

 

The Hours Begin to Sing (CD REVIEW)

November 2013
William Hadley, International Record Review

"Avram Sutzkever was a Lithuanian poet who endured two years in the Jewish ghetoo in Vilnius. His poems, written in Yiddish, are somobre, though the subject matter ranges widely. There is defiance there, and no self-pity. This mood has been skillfully recreated by David Garner in Vilna Poems, and the imaginative writing for the instrumental trio is a major part of this. David Krakauer's characteristic clarinet playing is particularly brilliant..."

 

String Quartet #2 to Premiere at International Chamber Music Festival

Garner's String Quartet No. 2, commissioned by the San Francisco/Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival, will be premiered by theShanghai Quartet in San Francisco in March, 2014, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Blending Western post-modernism and Pacific Rim fusion, Garner's second quartet promises to be a seminal work in early 21st century chamber music.

 

Context Speaks Volumes at Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival

March 9, 2013
Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice

Vilna Poems / Akoka: The End of Time / In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” read the title sheet of the Jewish Music Festival’s concert at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Saturday...Garner’s musical language is simple yet subtle, tonal, and beautiful. The subjects of the poetry moved from love, to imprisonment, to digging pits for executions, to PTSD … and ended with rejuvenation. Soprano Lisa Delan’s lovely voice added its grace to the accompaniment of David Krakauer’s clarinet, Matt Haimovitz’s cello, and Kristin Pankonin’s piano. Read more

 

David Garner interviewed on KALW FM 91.7 on March 3 at 8:00 p.m.

Garner was interviewed by Sarah Cahill on her show "Then and Now" on KALW FM Radio 91.7 on Sunday March 3.  The interview focused on his new work, Vilna Poems and his other upcoming projects. Listen to the broadcast.

 

San Francisco composer mixes poetry and melody in hybrid forms 

July 16, 2012
Jonathan Farrell, Digital Journal

Persian percussion with kabbalah-like lyrics is what some might refer to as world music "fusion." Yet to composer David Garner, the better word to describe it is "hybrid." "Fusion is a dead term, affected and outdate," he said. Read More

 

"Vilna Poems" at the Jewish Music Festival in March -- World Premiere

---Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, David Krakauer, clarinet, and Matt Haimowitz will premiere Vilna Poems, a song cycle by the great Yiddish poet Avram Sutzker, composed in memory of Sylvie Braitman. the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In performance at the Jewish Music Festival on the Thrust Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, CA.

 

A Trio of Recordings for Summer 2012 

---Spoon River Songs, wwith mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and pianist Kristin Pankonin will be available on the web starting this fall. 

---Vilna Poems (six Yiddish songs by Avrom Sutskever was recorded at Skywalker Sound, featuring Lisa Delan, Matt Haimovitz (cello), David Krakauer (clarinet) and pianist Kristin Pankonin. The cycle is now available on PentaTone Classics, PTCS 186-459.

---The first CD of the Persian Melody Project, a collaboration between Garner and soprano Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai, was recorded at Fantasy Studios with pianist Kristin Pankonin, and will be published later in the fall, along with the sheet-music.


International Premiere in Berlin in October

Soprano Nanette McGuinness and pianist Dale Tsang-Hall continue to perform Garner's German song cycles around the Bay Area as part of the Jewish Music and Poetry Project, most recently in Berkeley, August 8, with cellist Adaiha Macadam-Somer.

McGuinness and Tsang-Hall will perform the international premiere of "Chanson für Morgen" (texts by Mascha Kaleko) in Berlin this October at the Lichtburg Forum in a multidisciplinary program, Mascha Kalekos Gedichte als Musik. Upcoming premieres in 2013 and 2014 will feature three other of Garner's German-language cycles on poetry by Rose Ausländer (working title "Phönix"), Yala Korwin and Elsa Lasker-Schueler.

 

"Phenomenal Woman" at Jazz at Lincoln Center 

May 21, 2010
The Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center

An Evening of American Song:And If the Song Be Worth a Smile
Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, Matt Haimovitz, cello

"This concert of songs by six living American composers was presented by PentaTone Classics to celebrate its release of Lisa Delan’s recording of the program, also entitled “And if the Song be Worth a Smile.” Three of the composers – Gordon Getty, David Garner, and Luna Pearl Woolf – were present..."Read more

 

East Bay Symphony celebrates Persian New Year 

Monday, March 17, 2008
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle Music Critic

"Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony threw an early New Year's party at the Paramount Theatre Friday night... a collection of Persian folk songs orchestrated by Bay Area composer David Garner, turned out to be a heady and touching revelation..." Read Review

 

"Phenomenon": Music of David Garner available

Produced by Pentatone Classics - Released June 2009, featuring Susanne Mentzer, William Stone, Stephanie Friede, Francisco Araiza, Lisa Delan, Kristin Pankonin and members of the San Francisco Symphony. Learn More

San Francisco/ Shanghai Chamber Music Festival

"String Quartet #2," Han Quartet premiered at the Shanghai/Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival on March 13, 2014

by Michael Strickland, SFCivicCenter.Blogspot.com

"The first of two public concerts held in conjunction with the 2014 San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival was held last night in the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music(SFCM). This annual event, now in its fourth year, alternates between SFCM and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the public concerts culminate a week of intensive master classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions. The programs feature the efforts of both faculty and student composers and performers...

... Garner's program notes were forbidding, as in "The entire quartet is based on a twelve-tone row with its attendant serial technique except that it strives for tonal centricity within the serial structure, instead of freedom from tonal centricity." However, the four-movement piece was eminently accessible, lively, intelligent, and even a bit traditional sounding." Read more

2014 San Francisco-Shanghai Chamber Music Festival presents its first concert

"String Quartet #2," Han Quartet premiered at the Shanghai/Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival on March 13, 2014

by Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com

"The first of two public concerts held in conjunction with the 2014 San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival was held last night in the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music(SFCM). This annual event, now in its fourth year, alternates between SFCM and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the public concerts culminate a week of intensive master classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions. The programs feature the efforts of both faculty and student composers and performers.

Last night’s program featured two world premieres, a string quartet by SFCM composer David Garner before the intermission and a string trio by Shanghai student Minzuo Lu immediately after the intermission. Garner’s quartet was performed by the Han Quartet, consisting of Shanghai faculty members: Weimin Zheng and Shuting Wu on violin, Nian Liu on viola, and Dandi Wang on cello. It was the composer’s second quartet, and it was a vigorous exercise in the adaptation of dissonance to conventional structures that date back to the origins of the string quartet itself. In the absence of the grammatical conventions of harmonic progression to establish structure, Garner relied heavily on a discourse based on the unfolding of rhythmic patterns.

The Han Quartet seemed to recognize and accept this synthetic approach to realizing traditional forms through alternative discourse techniques. Indeed, the overt smiles on Wu’s face suggested a joyous reaction to both Garner’s plan and how that plan was being realized. The slow movement even included an allusion to a Chinese folksong, so Wu’s overt reaction may also have involved encountering an old friend in a new guise. For those of us listening with Western ears, however, the joy came from an effort to emancipate dissonance from past centuries of tradition without shackling it to any of the excessively cerebral alternatives that occupied so many of the practitioners of twentieth-century modernism."

Composer David Garner presents art song in four languages at the Conservatory

San Francisco Conservatory of Music, April 22, 2013

by Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com

"Last night’s concert in the Faculty Artist Series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) featured the work of composer David Garner. Garner has been composing for over 30 years and has been teaching at SFCM since 1979. He has a particular interest in the theatrical, and many of his compositions are cycles or collections of songs.

The program he prepared for last night focused almost entirely in the vocal side of his portfolio. Furthermore, each of the four vocal selections was in a different language. This included one set in Persian, alongside the more familiar languages of German, Spanish, and English.

Of these works the most compelling was probably the set in German entitledPhönix  (phoenix). These were settings of four poems by Rose Ausländer, born in Czernivtsi (a major Ukrainian city on the Romanian border, known as “Czernowitz” in both German and Yiddish) in 1901. Ausländer was part of a community of 60,000 Jews in this city and was one of only 5000 to survive the Holocaust. She became an American citizen, during which time she wrote only in English, and moved to Germany in the Sixties.

Phönix was composed on a commission by the Jewish Music and Poetry Project and was given its first performance at the beginning of this month in a recital in the Old First Concerts series at Old First Church. It was presented last night by the same performers, soprano Nanette McGuinness and pianist Dale Tsang-Hall. As might be guessed, the phoenix of the title refers to the Jewish people who survived the Holocaust; but all four poems in the set have a decidedly dark quality. Garner served this quality well with a rhetoric highly reminiscent of expressionist practices in Vienna, particularly in the period between the two World Wars; and McGuinness captured that rhetoric effectively in her delivery of the texts.

In addition, by way of an “overture,” Tsang-Hall performed three solo piano etudes that Garner composed between 1991 and 1993 (revising the third, “Dodecahedron” in 2012). These were technically demanding compositions, distinguished particularly by the diversity of approaches to rhythm. Garner was particularly imaginative in weaving eccentric rhythms around straightforward metric patterns. Tsang-Hall displayed a solid command of these eccentricities, even when they were deployed across the full breadth of the keyboard.

Spanish was represented in a setting of the six Viñetas Flamencas (flamenco vignettes) poems by Federico Garcia Lorca. Three of the poems evoke the chanting qualities of musicians that Lorca knew, Silverio Franconetti, Juan Breva, and La Parrala; and all six are predominantly melancholic. This made for a particularly fascinating complement to the Ausländer cycle, since the mournful chant-like style of flamenco vocalization is but one example of how the nigun” form of Hasidic chant can be found in other cultures, both European and Asian..."

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Redwood Symphony mesmerizing and awe-inspiring

"Notes from Persia: Six Perisan Songs" Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai, soprano, Redwood Symphony, Eric Kujawsky, conductor, April 13, 2013

by David Bratman, The Daily Journal

Conductor Eric Kujawsky likes big, heavy, complicated modern symphonies. That’s why the Redwood Symphony, of which he is music director, performs composers like Mahler and John Corigliano...Being ingratiating at this concert was the job of David Garner, a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory who recently arranged Six Persian Songs — that’s the piece’s title — for soprano and orchestra. The soprano was Iranian expatriate Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai, Garner’s former student, who brought the songs to his attention.

A professional opera singer used to performing in Italian, Shehabi-Yaghmai looked delighted to be bringing us songs familiar to her, sung in her own native tongue, for a change (English supertitles were provided). Read more

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Context Speaks Volumes at Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival

"Vilna Poems," Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, Matt Haimovitz, cello, premiered at the Jewish Music Festival on March 9, 2013

by Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice

Vilna Poems / Akoka: The End of Time / In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” read the title sheet of the Jewish Music Festival’s concert at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Saturday...Garner’s musical language is simple yet subtle, tonal, and beautiful. The subjects of the poetry moved from love, to imprisonment, to digging pits for executions, to PTSD … and ended with rejuvenation. Soprano Lisa Delan’s lovely voice added its grace to the accompaniment of David Krakauer’s clarinet, Matt Haimovitz’s cello, and Kristin Pankonin’s piano. Read more

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Jewish Music & Poetry Project Premieres

Three Etudes, Old First Concerts, Dale Tsang-Hall, April 5, 2013

by Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

..."Garner’s Three Etudes overflowed with positive, seemingly limitless energy. Playing with the piano lid opened to full width, Tsang-Hall flawlessly delivered the catchy, syncopated rhythms of Labyrinth (1991), the darting little figures and wonderful bursts of high treble light in Traveling Light (1991), and the surfeit of energy in the delicious Dodecahedron (1993, 2012)."

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"Phenomenal Woman" at Jazz at Lincoln Center

An Evening of American Song:And If the Song Be Worth a Smile Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, Matt Haimovitz, cello May 21, 2010

by Edith Eisler, New York Concert Review
"This concert of songs by six living American composers was presented by PentaTone Classics to celebrate its release of Lisa Delan’s recording of the program, also entitled “And if the Song be Worth a Smile.” Three of the composers – Gordon Getty, David Garner, and Luna Pearl Woolf – were present...Read More

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East Bay Symphony celebrates Persian New Year

Premiered at The Paramount Theatre, Oakland, March 2008

by Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
"Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony threw an early New Year's party at the Paramount Theatre Friday night... a collection of Persian folk songs orchestrated by Bay Area composer David Garner, turned out to be a heady and touching revelation..." Read More

Swells

Featured in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 26, 2007

Music man: Getting ready for his close-up, Gordon Getty and his wife, Ann Getty, host a musical version of "dinner and a movie" this week. Music aficionados will receive sneak previews of PentaTone Classics' "Songs by American Composers" project. One features works by composers such as Getty, Jake Heggie and William Bolcom; the other features artists (such as tenor Francisco Araiza, soprano Lisa Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin) performing works by composer David Garner. Both the record label and the artists waived or reduced their usual fees for the project, which was recorded at Skywalker Ranch last fall. As such, the nonprofit Future Music organization hopes to induce potential supporters to hand over some high C-notes so the recordings can become reality on CDs. Bonus? Documentary filmmaker Peter Rosen will screen a few minutes of his work-in-progress starring Gordon Getty, composer. Tah-dah!

SF Conservatory of Music Alums Give Birth to New Creative Venture

Concerned that American music has few venues to foster talent, Alumni of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music have founded a non-profit called Future Music. Read More

SF-Shanghai Festival Returns to 50 Oak

The San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival was born in Shanghai in 2011, the result of a five-year sister school agreement with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to take turns hosting annual events. Stemming from the longstanding sister city affiliation between Shanghai and San Francisco, the festival also reflects a natural affinity between the two schools. Read more

Cuadro Cuadrangulos

Premiered at British Horn Society, December 2006

The Horn Player by Bob Ashworth
"My favourite track is Son Montuno, one of the Cuadro Cuadrangulos by David Garner with its lovely melody and relaxed feel." Read More

Viñetas Flamencas

Premiered at Old First Concerts, Friday, June 7, 2002

All You Could Hope For by Jeff Rosenfeld - San Francisco Chronicle Voice
"The most substantial premiere on the program was a new song cycle by David Garner, Vinetas Flamencas." Read More

Seven Nocturnes

Premiered at the City Composers Concert, November 18th, 2002

Blueprint for the City by Thomas Goss - San Francisco Chronicle Voice
"The leading light was Garner's Seven Nocturnes, for a full and richly utilized chamber ensemble supporting Marie Bafus in a setting of texts by Greek poet Odysseus Elytis." Read More

The Money Tree

Premiered at The University of San Francisco's Gill Theater, June 30, 2000

Who Wants to Be the Owner of a Money Tree? by Mark Alburger - 21st Century Music
"Money may not grow on trees, but music is produced in a seemingly effortless and natural analogous method by San Francisco composer David Garner." Read More

 
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